Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Interview with a Nurse

Kimberly Little a fiery redhead that walked into my life in the most unexpected way. She fell in love with my kid brother thus becoming my sister-in-law, and very quickly became my dear friend. On the professional side of this high spirited, independent, beautiful women is the heart of nurse. A job Kimberly takes very seriously. Being a nurse in my opinion takes a special kind of person. I have decided that the good Lord gave them hearts of gold. Many days you will find that Kimberly is still at work after hours, picking up an extra shift, or sacrificing holidays to perform her job. Besides the things a nurse has to deal with on a daily basis the job also comes with an emotional attachment that is not easily left at work. Nurses are so much to us. They are our comfort in a painful time, our caretaker, our voice to doctors, a gentle touch, soft spoken voice, and many times our beacons of hope! All in all nurses are important and necessary pieces of the community's puzzle. Shall we find out from Kimberly our friendly neighborhood nurse serving us with a smile what her world is really like.

Q: Why did you choose to be a nurse for your career?

A: It was an accidental occurrence. I started out in my college life majoring in music, and education. Yes I wanted to be that proverbial dorky Band Director. However life intervened and I got sick and missed a lot school and ended up dropping out of college. After a few years of being a server/bartender I ran across an add in the paper that said FREE CNT SCHOOL. I had not one clue of what a CNT was. I called and applied to the school. It was relatively short and was a class about taking care of the elderly/infirm. I am more thankful for this step in my life then most others. CNT (certified nurse technician) is a person who bathes, cleans, assists a person with ADLs (activities of daily living). I did this alot caring for patients in a Nursing home for about a year. My charge nurse Betsy Hill encouraged me to get my LPN, she told me over and over again I was smart and I would make a wonderful nurse. At the same time I was working as a CNT I decided I wanted to buy a house. I had put down a deposit and the finance company had called me back and told me my mortgage was going to be 700$ a month. I realized that most of my house payment would be most of my monthly salary. I took back the deposit and registered for nursing school. the rest is of course, History.

Q: Are TV shows like Er & Nurse Jackie somewhat realistic to the nursing job field?

A: HAH that's assuming i have time to watch TV! In all seriousness, I have seen the first episode of Nurse Jackie and there are alot of parallels in the show that's in real life. For example the Doctors that don't know anything, or Nurses who abuse medications, or tragedy's that break your heart. It really happens. Nursing is not just a career its a way of life. You cant be a nurse just 8 hours a day. Its a job that if a patient is sick, you cant just up and leave, and Holidays are nice, but people are sick then too. Its also not as glamorous, there is no smellavision and if there was, no one would really want the scent of CDIFF wafting through their living room.

Q: How long have you worked as a nurse?

A: 9 years.

Q: Do you find your job fulfilling?

A: I find my patients fulfilling. There is nothing better than seeing genuine appreciation in a patients face for something I did. It takes a certain something to be able to hold a patients hand while they die and whisper to them its ok. The body has this amazing ability to heal itself, to mend a broken bone, a wound to heal and become whole. I get to a birds eye view of it, that's pretty fulfilling. I have 2 dogs and when i come home after work they are so happy they look at me with trust and love and so glad I'm there. I see that in my patients eyes. Its a lot to live up to and they trust I will do it to the best of my ability, so I do.

Q: What advice would you give someone just starting out?

A: Two things. First, take breaks. Sometimes you just have to walk away and remember to breathe. We can get so wrapped up and keep going til we are burned out. That does no one any good, not you, nor the patient. Second, its not how much you know that makes you smart or a good nurse, its knowing where to go to find the answers.

Q: How do you handle the sadness of your job?

A: I don't linger over what ifs. I trust that a higher power knows and understands more than me. I don't work with sick children. I work with mostly the elderly, its easier to say goodbye to someone who has had a long life and i would like to believe a fulfilling life.

Q: What is your take on medical industry has a whole?

A: Tough question with a thousand ways to approach, On my political soap box i think sooner then later the health care bubble will burst and it will be bad for everyone. People have long abused the health care industry and when it catches up and there are no more dollars to borrow my job will be just as much threatened as the next and that scares me.

Q: Are family members of patients on average polite, and grateful for the care you provide their loved ones?

A: For the most part yes. however there are the occasional Sue Happy People, and the ones that aren't quite ready to let momma or daddy go, that can make your job challenging. If i have any advice I could give to a person with an aging parent, talk with them and see what there wishes are do they want quality or quantity?

Q: What is the nicest thing someone has done for you because you are a nurse?

A: Hmm nothing as of yet, I am hoping for a break on taxes or something when i whip out my LPN license one day! Well I take that back sometimes family members send up treats and snacks for caring for their loved ones, I think its because we do a good job, not just because we are a nurse!

Q: Do you believe in what you do, and that it makes a difference?

A: The best way i can answer this is to tell a story of about the 3rd day I was a tech. There was a woman yelling and calling out and so upset on the floor. She would get up and walk around seeming lost and distraught. due to dementia I was unable to figure out what the patients needs was. My charge nurse suggested I take her outside for a few minutes and let her get some fresh air. I did this and she quieted down and seemed to enjoy the walk outside. As i pushed her around the grounds in her wheel chair the distress seemed to melt away in the spring day. It wasn't a long walk maybe 15 minutes long, just long enough. I took this patient back upstairs and she was quiet the rest of the day. I went home and when i came back on my next shift, I learned she had passed away shortly after our walk. I was devastated. I asked my charge nurse how this could have happened? Maybe I should have kept her in and not exposed her to spring air or maybe it had been too much. She told me, Kimberly you made her happy you brought her peace, you took her outside and you made a difference in her life. even if it was only 1 minute or 15 minutes you made a difference. I never forget that, I always try to make a difference even if its as small as holding someones hand, listening to a story, or just sitting beside them. Giving pills to a patient, that's the easy part. Anyone can be taught to do that, learning to care for soul as well as that the body, that's the true heart of nursing.


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